The Colorado Rockies lost their foundation Tuesday morning.
Everything the organization represents was developed from President Keli McGregor, who tragically passed away Tuesday in his hotel room in Salt Lake City.
I didn’t know Mr. McGregor; I’ve never even met him. I did hear him speak once and have recently read several articles and heard numerous stories about the man he was. While I didn’t know him, when you follow a team as closely as I do the Colorado Rockies, something like this hits home like it would with a family member.
Maybe that’s because that’s what this organization is–a family.
Starting during their postseason run in 2007, stories began to develop about the chemistry of the Rockies’ players and front office. The bond is like nothing I’ve seen in professional sports. Players like Jason Giambi and Joe Beimel recently said they wanted to sign as free agents with the Rockies because their teammates are like a second family to them.
The Rockies organization is filled with human beings full of character, class and respect. It’s not a team housed of just good athletes but also good individuals.
Too often today, athletes are represented negatively as drug users, cheaters and criminals with mug shots on the front page of newspapers. The Rockies are seen as modest, humble and class acts.
They’ve sometimes been criticized for things like banning subjective magazines and music in the clubhouse and having team-led Bible studies.
I take pride in the fact, however, that the team I cheer for is also made up of people I can look up to. It takes away some of the stardom that athletes generally carry, making me realize that they are down-to-earth individuals similar to myself.
Keli established this.
From what I’ve read, he was a first-class guy with nothing but positive things said about him. He was a selfless individual, always with family-first and team-first mentalities. One poster today said that the only thing Keli lacked was an ego. Another noted that he acted nothing like a president, treating even the ushers and first-time fans with utmost respect.
Today truly is a tragedy for the Rockies organization and all of Major League Baseball.
His passing comes at an interesting time. It comes at the beginning of Colorado’s most anticipated season, with many analysts projecting the Rockies to be one of the best teams in baseball this year and in years to come. It was developed by Keli.
It comes just days after one of the Rockies’ most memorable moments in team history, when Ubaldo Jimenez threw the first no-hitter in club history.
It also comes just days after all of the Rockies community is still heated over a balk and missed call that eventually led to a loss Sunday afternoon in Atlanta.
But while Keli’s competitive nature strives to win, I’m sure, something like this makes us pause and reflect on the important things in our lives. Keli left a wife, four children and a distraught organization.
The Rockies have fed off of Keli’s character to become the individuals and the organization they are today. Keli has built an organization in Denver that we can be proud of, one that is starting to receive recognition for its potential and winning, but also for the group of men they are.
Let’s honor Keli’s legacy by continuing to field a team we can be proud of, a team full of character–character like Keli’s.
“We’ve lost somebody in this organization that is going to be greatly missed. He embraces, in my opinion, everything, and has been in the forefront of everything that the Colorado Rockies are about and that they represent.” – Manager Jim Tracy on Keli McGregor.
This article is also featured on Bleacher Report.